mon 22/07/2024

DVD: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes | reviews, news & interviews

DVD: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

DVD: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Andy Serkis excels in reboot's superbly realised, conceptually thin sequel

Same as the old boss: Koba (Toby Kebbell) takes charge

The original Planet of the Apes series was Hollywood’s most ingeniously extended franchise, surviving the obliteration of Earth in its first sequel to loop back on itself and spin out a further three. This second film of the successful reboot and its already planned follow-up are both basically remakes of the clapped-out 1973 finale Battle for the Planet of the Apes, a conceptual handicap evident when it climaxes with two chimps in a punch-up.

The care put into the world of Matt Reeves’ film still mostly carries the day. Set 10 years after Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Caesar (Andy Serkis, sort of, pictured second left) rules an evolved ape colony in the Northern Californian woods that assumes simian flu has made humanity extinct. Instead, survivors in San Francisco led by Gary Oldman are intent on restoring their civilisation. Caesar chooses to help them rather than go to war. His lieutenant Koba, tortured in human labs, wants to exterminate the brutes while they can. Echoes of Native Americans’ aid to colonists and the former’s eventual fate, like most of our species’ history, can’t help but make you conclude Koba is right. Dread of war, thrumming through the forest as its inevitability grows, gives the first hour moral weight. Reeves leaves regular pulses of quiet even in the second half, which remembers that Franklin J. Schaffner’s 1968 original wasn’t only a superb film of satirical ideas, but spiced with lean, mean action.

Extras include a brief short which lets you compare Andy Serkis’s motion capture acting with the digitally finished product, and ponder his possible Oscar nomination. Both layers of skill combine in a subtly noble role, as Caesar leads one bestial society against another.

The second half remembers that the 1968 original wasn’t only a superb film of satirical ideas, but spiced with lean, mean action


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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